Two more school superintendents to retire

2014-04-29T00:00:00Z 2014-04-29T13:24:12Z Two more school superintendents to retireCarmen McCollum carmen.mccollum@nwi.com, (219) 662-5337 nwitimes.com

Two local superintendents have joined the ranks of those retiring this year.

Dan DeHaven, 63, superintendent of Lake Station Schools, and Jim Rice, 69, superintendent of River Forest Community School Corp., will retire later this year.

They join other longtime superintendents who have already announced their retirements, including George Letz, Metropolitan School District of Boone Township; Ric Frataccia, Portage Township Schools; Mike Berta, Valparaiso Community Schools; and Richard Sopko, School Town of Munster.

Lake Station's DeHaven has spent his entire 40-year career in Lake Station, and he is a native of that community. He graduated from Edison Jr.-Sr. High School in 1969. He also attended Polk Elementary School and came back in 1974 to begin his career as a teacher. DeHaven became the principal at Polk in 1977 and was there 14 years before going to the central office as assistant superintendent to then-Superintendent Charlie Costa. DeHaven became superintendent in 2002.

"This is truly my hometown," DeHaven said. "I kid people that I've only filled out one application in my life. I feel pretty good about having spent my entire career here. We have lots of great people in Lake Station and great kids to work with and the staff has been wonderful. They are hard working, dedicated and I really have enjoyed my time here."

Though DeHaven said it's going to be hard to leave, he said he's going to travel in his retirement and visit family, and has already rented a place in Florida to stay for the winter of 2015.

Rice's retirement is effective Aug. 31. He's been superintendent at River Forest for 14 years.

"I'll stay until a replacement has been found," he said. "It's time. It comes a time for everybody."

Rice, who has been in education 48 years, is a native of Michigan City and graduated from the former Elston High School in 1962.

Rice has a storied career in education, working in a variety of school districts including the School City of Hobart as director of students services, superintendent in the Zionsville Community School Corp. from 1990-92, superintendent in the Porter Township Schools and superintendent in a school district in Arizona from 1992-96.

"I'll miss the students and the professionals that I have had an opportunity to work with over the years, the good relationships I've had over the years and the support I've had in my educational endeavors," he said.

While River Forest is just beginning the search for a new superintendent, Lake Station has moved forward and as required by law held a meeting Monday night on the proposed contract for a new superintendent.

It calls for the new superintendent to begin his duties July 1, with a three-year contract running through June 30, 2017. The superintendent will be paid $115,000, with benefits including $5,810 deposited annually into a 403(b) retirement account, annual Indiana State Teachers Retirement Fund contribution of $3,450, use of a corporate vehicle amounting to $9,025 per year and a cell fund stipend of $1,200 per year. The total of all the benefits including annual professional dues compensation, health insurance and other benefits increases the compensation package to $146,133.

The state requires school districts to hold a public hearing regarding the benefits prior to naming the new superintendent. Only one person attended the meeting, and made no comments.

Lake Station School Board President Greg Tenorio said there were 13 applicants for the position, about half of whom were women. He said no one from within the corporation applied for the job.

"We were looking for someone who had some finance experience and good leadership skills," he said.

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